It Happened One Doomsday by Laurence MacNaughton
It Happened One Doomsday is, I think, the first in the start of an urban fantasy series with sorcerers, demons and possessed cars! I must say from the outset that I really enjoyed this, it was a very easy read, I thought the characters developed well along the way, it had plenty of pace and I genuinely hope there will be more books down the line. Basically, this reads like the start of a UF series and it ends on a note that promises more to come – but I genuinely don’t know if more books are planned *raises one eyebrow hopefully in Mr MacNaughton’s direction*?
I don’t want to give too much away so, briefly, this is a book about the end of the world – okay, more a plot to end the world. Seven cunning sorcerers (known here as harbingers) have hatched a plan to wipe the slate clean and start again and the survival of everyone will be in the hands of a barely magical, crystal toting woman who desires a normal life with her dentist boyfriend.
At the start of the story we’re introduced to Dru, a young woman with a smidgeon of magical ability that allows her to energise the natural power within crystals and sell them in her shop. She’s just about eking out a living and making the rent but basically she’s fairly happy and enjoys helping others – even if they’re sceptical about the whole crystal wielding actually helping them at all. That is until a fairly handsome mechanic (known as Greyson), with a demon possession problem, walks into her shop complaining of strange dreams. Of course Dru is determined to help Greyson who has very little idea of just how much trouble he’s really in.
So, what did I like about the book. I think it does a great job of setting up the world in a very easy way. The writing is smooth and the author manages to easily provide information on the characters, the set up and the world being portrayed as the story progresses without resorting to massive info dumps or distracting history lessons. We learn fairly quickly that this is a world with magical possibility but that most people are either ignorant of this fact or simply refuse to believe in the existence of such things. The characters are easy to like. We have the female trinity – Dru, who owns the crystal shop, Opal, her employee who seems more interested in glitzy pumps than sparkly crystals and Rane, Dru’s childhood friend and a sorcerer with the ability to transform herself into other forms, such as wood, metal or rock, simply by touch! We have two annoying boyfriends – one an ‘ex’ and the other a ‘soon to be’ ex. And, of course, we have Greyson – who has a slightly unusual history that is revealed as the story progresses.
The main characters are Dru and Greyson who share a connection that helps both of them in different ways. The only negative aspect to the Dru/Greyson relationship is a case of serious instalove which I think personally felt a little bit rushed although I must add that this is not a romance novel and that aspect of the story is not paid a great deal of attention to. On the positive side both characters come to need each other in different ways as the story develops. Both have a past that they’re in denial about, Dru longs for normality and Greyson has very little understanding about his own family and both have much more potential than has yet been realised. I really liked that the author is letting both character arcs develop at a reasonable pace rather than both of them becoming overnight sensations with phenomenal magical prowess! They both have problems. Greyson is possessed by a demon so is problem is very physical not to mention dangerous. Dru suffers from massive self doubt, which isn’t really a surprise considering she was surrounded by a family with far superior magical talent, and has happily relegated herself to a life without expectation in that area.
Of course, you may have noticed the reference above to possessed cars. Greyson is in fact fixing up an old car when he first makes his appearance at Dru’s shop – a Dodge Charger that he affectionately named ‘Hellbringer’. Remember the film about a car called Christine – well, Hellbringer gives the whole haunted car theme a complete overhaul. Add to this a few other demons and their equally possessed ‘rides’ and as you may imagine there are a few dramatic car chases thrown into the mix.
The world building. Well, this is the modern world in which we live so the world here only needs to be very lightly sketched. Set in Colorado things are pretty much as you would expect – well, up until we take a road trip into the desert, visit a haunted mansion and discover an archway that is actually a portal to the netherworld – all of course heavily glamorised to prevent mere mortals from stumbling upon them – and all of this with a bunch of demons in hot pursuit.
In terms of criticisms. Apart from the instalove, I don’t suppose this is bringing anything particularly eye poppingly new to the urban fantasy genre but that being said I think there’s always room for another urban fantasy providing it’s well done and keeps you entertained – which this does.
I really enjoyed It Happened One Doomsday. It’s an enjoyable read with very easy to like characters, a fast paced plot, lots of action and a healthy injection of wit. Yes, you will have to massively suspend your disbelief – but surely you would have to do so with any urban fantasy? This is a story based on an old prophecy that has been given a modern injection to bring it into the 21st century.
I received a copy courtesy of the publisher for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.